For as long as I can remember, I have always had a fascination with nature. The biological world is incredible, it is complex yet simple, beautiful yet ugly, kind yet cruel, infinite yet finite; what could be more raw and real? I don’t care for bright lights, big cities and this modern technological world we live in. I feel a sense of peace in nature, I am carefree, I take my dog down to the beach and realise that this moment is what matters, me, the dog and her ball!
This fascination is part of the reason I wanted to become a doctor. To be honest, as a child, I wanted to be a vet, but decided against this because I couldn’t accept the idea that one day I would have to euthanise another living creature. That and a wonderful experience I had as a child on holiday in Cornwall where I befriended a young girl with cerebral palsy. I was so touched by her positive attitude that I thought my intentions would be better served helping humans rather than animals. I won’t lie, I wish I’d followed my heart and become a vet, animals are far nicer than humans. I now understand that doing something ‘unpleasant’ can actually be in their best interests, removing pain can be the kindest most compassionate thing you can do.
We often do things in medicine because we can rather than because we should. Modern medicine has progressed in leaps and bounds, from leeches to stem cell transplants, how times have changed. It is puzzling however, that despite these advances, our level of humanity has faltered somewhat. You often hear the analogy ‘you wouldn’t treat a dog like that’, it’s rather strange, yet totally understandable at times that we appear to have more compassion and understanding for an animal than we do for a fellow human being. We are indeed strange creatures, our complexities are not necessarily wholesome and altruistic.
I’m watching with awe and amazement David Attenborough’s ‘Planet Earth II’. It got me thinking. Mother nature works in perfect harmony with itself, it is an incredibly complex yet delicate machine. You only have to look at the introduction of the American Cane Toad to Australia, it was supposed to replace the use of toxic pesticides we recognised were poisoning the earth, yet it’s caused tremendous devastation to the already brittle and brutal ecosystem that exists there. It is merely one example of many where we have been misguided and naïve in our predictions.
We meddle, we interfere, we interrupt, we attempt to alter this finely tuned ecosystem that has survived for billions of years, without thought or consideration for what is best for the collective. We think we know best, yet we are constantly reminded that we are hindering not helping, as the ice melts and the seas rise, as we continue our destructive path. We don’t need to save the planet, we need to save ourselves, the planet will do just fine. It was here billions of years before us, it will be here billions of years after us. It is constantly evolving, from a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, to a time when we now believe we rule the earth, to a time when something else will. We are merely a speck in the big picture, we will occupy the briefest of moments in time.
Before man started interfering, there was a natural order to the survival of the human race. Puberty signalled the development of sexual organs and maturity which heralded the time and opportunity to procreate. This was followed by a period of health, long enough to raise offspring but not long enough to over populate the earth from where we dwelled. We know there are limited resources here on earth, yet we attempt to manipulate and defy this natural order.
As testosterone levels dropped, so did fertility, meaning procreation was still possible but less likely. There is no biological advantage in an older person fathering a child, although there is a biological necessity if the need arises. There is however, a need for that man to be able to nurture and care long enough for his child to grow up and do the same for their future offspring. That way, the survival of future generations and DNA are preserved. The circle of life.
There is a biological necessity for testosterone levels to drop with age, whether you accept this or not is up to you. It is something that you can alter with modern medicine. You can argue that declining testosterone is a natural consequence of aging and it’s something best left to nature. You’d be foolish mind. We are an interfering species, we pretty much mess with every natural process in the misguided belief it will be of benefit to either us, or the collective, as a whole. We use toxic statins to lower cholesterol levels, we take medications that alter the chemicals in our brains, medications that alter the rhythm of our hearts. There are countless examples of us ‘interfering’ without a second thought or regard.
So what could be more natural than using a bioidentical hormone to mimic your natural testosterone levels? A chemical that is identical in chemical structure to that which is produced organically by your body? Surely keeping testosterone at a healthy level is a great idea, at the level you felt at your best both physically and mentally?
Your body is an extremely complex and sophisticated machine. Production of testosterone is regulated by the hypo-pituitary-gonadal axis, a negative feedback system that ensures an optimal amount of testosterone is available for your requirements at the right time. TRT therefore interrupts that intricate system and ensures a high level of testosterone is available at all times. Homeostasis is a process by which your body establishes an equilibrium so that it can function best. There are mechanisms at work all the time to ensure that this physiological state is maintained.
Hormones can be anabolic or catabolic. Surely therefore, if this system works so well, why are we giving TRT, which on the face of things may seem a rather crude method of restoring testosterone? There are a number of factors that have contributed to this deterioration, both genetic and exogenous factors such as toxins we are exposed to, voluntarily and involuntary. This approach actually works in our favour, you want a high testosterone. You want to feel how you did when you were of an age where you had plentiful energy, a high sex drive and you could climb any mountain so to speak. Now you don’t have the angst of finding your place in life, surely this is the time to enjoy it?
We know that testosterone is pivotal to men’s health, its benefits are far more wide reaching than simply sexual maturity and function. To accept this decline you must also accept a decline in one’s health. If you don’t care about being healthy, then you don’t care about anything. Despite the best will in the world, passion for something is meaningless if you don’t have the capability of pursuing it.
Defy nature, be healthy, live life, don’t let mother nature beat you into submission, take the fight to her!
Dr. Robert Stevens MBChB MRCGP Dip.FIPT